Chef Allen Routt creates delicious French-inspired New American dishes at his restaurant The Painted Lady. Hidden in Oregon’s wine producing Willamette Valley, Allen and his wife (Jessica Bagley) use their combined creativity and inspiration to bring forth edible works of art lavishly served in a manner worthy of a gala event. 

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Dining on Art

A dinner at The Painted Lady is tantamount to wandering through an art gallery where visitors relish one piece of art after another, the difference being that people at a gallery only savor the delights with their eyes, whereas guests choosing to indulge in the nine-course tasting menu experience these works of art using all five senses, each one being equally aroused. To enhance the event, order the meticulously selected wines paired perfectly with each course.

A Dining Event

The nine-course menu organically evolves throughout the year depending on what the season has to offer. Menu items received with excessive appreciation are prolonged on the menu, while other selections come and go on a weekly or monthly basis.

Each winter Chef Allen exercises what he calls “The Experimental Dinner Series.” This series of dinners, only offered on Wednesday nights, comes at a discounted price, and is comprised of five to seven courses. One themed event was a dinner amassed from the Oregon Coast utilizing ingredients gathered from the beach area. Shells decorated the dining area, and the aroma of the sea permeated the restaurant as Chef Allen continuously boiled a pot of seaweed in the kitchen. LuxeGetaways always likes to discover these types of “obtainable luxuries,” making a dining experience of this caliber even more possible for many. Delicious!

The couple labors to create an atmosphere that “maintains societal structure.” Allen says, “We wanted to establish a place where people enjoy an elegant evening out, get dressed up, and can still share the occasion with their children. We want to establish a nurturing environment and still surprise people with the cuisine.”

Sourcing the Best Ingredients

Chef sources locally whenever possible, but once in a while it is necessary to use purveyors out of the area for specialty items. According to waitstaff at the restaurant, when Chef fancies hearts of palm he contacts his friend, a palm tree farmer on the big island of Hawaii, who then overnights the fresh hearts of palm in 10-pound shipments. Chef shaves the hearts of palm, tosses them in a mustard vinaigrette, and then tops the dish with pickled mustard seeds, pearls made from avocado aspic, and shaved Burgundy truffles. He finishes the plate with tiny oca leaves for a delicate garnish.

A long-standing item on the menu is the silky Miso Custard. It arrives at the table baked in the bottom of a special serving bowl created by a local potter. Topped with fresh Dungeness crab, the custard presents with additional garnishes of sesame powder, mushrooms, pickled onions, daikon radish for texture, and sesame seeds. Hot dashi poured over the custard at tableside completes the dish.

For one of his vegetarian courses Chef prepares his pillowy Potato Gnocchi with saffron-infused leaks that melt in your mouth, fermented black garlic puree, smoked paprika, and smoked Japanese turnip. A delicious meat course is the 28-day dry-aged New York strip steak pan-seared with a pinot noir reduction. The beef rests on a bed of artichoke puree with a garnish of arugula puree dots, green beans, and artichoke chips. The remaining plates in chef’s nine-course dinner consist of fish, cheese, and dessert courses, which are just as exquisite and scrumptious as the above dishes.

The Cottage

After an amazing dining event, who wants to drive home. Diners can make reservations in advance to stay at the cottage. In 2006, the couple purchased a small house next door to the restaurant. The house dates back to 1901, and is an intimate 1100-square-foot cottage has 2 bedrooms and 1 ½ baths. Renovations began in 2006, and the renovated house reopened in 2011 with a full kitchen, dining room, garden, and patio.

Special culinary packages are available at the cottage. Guests can opt for the addition of just a meal or two, a special dish made onsite in the ground’s pizza oven, or a full-gourmand weekend with food, wine, and wine tasting.

Book a reservation for a memorable evening at The Painted Lady in Newburg, Oregon, and savor some of Chef Allen’s artistic productions…